Your own palace in the sun
For laid-back sunshine and a spot of culture, try the coast of Montenegro, a cheaper, quirkier alternative to Croatia. The glamour of the 1930s, when it was visited by Hollywood stars, has begun to resurface, but prices remain rock-bottom. A 17th-century former palace a few minutes' walk from Kotor Bay, which has pretty open air bars, has been restored with local stone and handmade furniture. All bedrooms have lovely views of the mountains or the sea, and it sleeps 16 people (or 23 if you also rent the adjacent smaller building). You can take trips to beaches and restaurants accessible only by boat, and beautiful Dubrovnik is just an hour's drive away.
• From £87pp for a three-night stay for 16 people, excluding flights (020-8940 8733, ownersdirect.co.uk)
To party all night
It's not just the women who wear heels when you celebrate your impending nuptials in Madrid. A great night in Spain's party central could start with a transvestite dinner and floor show – just like an Almodóvar movie daaahling – at Gula Gula (gulagula.net) on Gran Via before you dance the hot night away (Madrileños rarely go out before midnight) under the frescoed baroque walls of 19th-century Palacio de Gaviria (palaciogaviria.com), now a club, on Calle Arenal. Next day, recover with alfresco chicken and cider at Casa Mingo (casamingo.es) on the edge of the Casa de Campo urban park to the west of the city centre, and take a dip in the outdoor pool in the park.
• Good value, centrally located Hostal La Macarena (+91 365 9221) has doubles from €80
Be a real lady
Pretend you were to the manor born by taking over a country house. The Lynhurst, a Victorian pile overlooking Exmoor and the north Devon coast, sleeps up to 23 people. Stock up with food and drink, luxuriate in the three acres of gardens, and play games on the sun terrace. If the weather isn't great, retreat to the luxurious lounge for a singalong around the baby grand by the fireplace. There are pubs, restaurants and shops a few minutes' walk away.
• The Lynhurst costs from £2,100 a week through One Off Places (01598 753757, oneoffplaces.co.uk)
Drinking, with a chaser of exercise …
Involving pickled sprouts, Dirty Tackle beer and bar games like Ride the Bull, the 99km Yorkshire pub crawl around 18 boozers isn't for the faint-hearted – or weak-livered. Covering the glorious scenery of the Dales, the five-day circular walk from Kettlewell – use The Inn Way to the Yorkshire Dales (Inn Way Publishing, £10.95) – follows historic trade routes littered with great value B&Bs and some of the country's loveliest pubs. Warning: not suitable for black pudding-phobics.
• These inns all have B&B doubles up to £75 a night: Racehorses Hotel, Kettlewell (01756 760233, racehorseshotel.co.uk); White Lion, Cray (01756 760262, whitelioncray.com); White Rose, Askrigg (01969 650514, thewhiterosehotelaskrigg.co.uk); Fox and Hounds, West Burton (01969 663111, fhinn.co.uk); Arkleside Hotel, Reeth (01748 884200, arklesidehotel.co.uk)
Rafting with a difference
You and your fellow stags can embrace your inner Ray Mears with a build-it sail-it raft trip on central Sweden's Klaralven river. Vildmark i Varmland provides the timber and tuition for a one or two-day float down the historic logging route with a night in a basic cabin. Obviously, this being a stag do, there's also a beaver safari. The critters explode out of the water unnervingly close to your canoe, so take revenge by eating smoked beaver washed down with beaver gland schnapps at Falkholts Dalslandskrog restaurant (+46 531 35070, falkholt.com).
• Vildmark i Varmland (+46 560 14040, vildmark.se) offers one-night river trips from trip £114pp
Bar hopping and beaches
Lisbon is a less obvious choice than Prague or Barcelona, but it's a great – and cheaper – option. Casa da Estrela is a renovated town house sleeping 20 in the historic Ajuda district. The enormous roof terrace offers spectacular views over the city for early evening drinks, before you jump on Lisbon's famous tram 28 into the centre. Bar-hop in the Bairro Alto and visit Cinco Lounge for great cocktails. During the day you can take the train up the coast to one of dozens of surf beaches for a lesson.
• Casa da Estrela costs from €30pppn for 20 people (minimum stay two nights), with Holiday Rentals (0191-406 6257, holiday-rentals.co.uk)
A little Ooh La La
Sunflowers, lavender, cassis – and not a budget flight in sight. Can it get any more romantic? Take the Eurostar TGV link to Aix-en-Provence from £109 return (eurostar.com) and pick up a cute restored Citroen 2CV (2cvexperience.com) before rolling back the roof and humming around villages of sun-pickled stone. Domaine Les Roullets is a dreamy farmhouse with pool and stylish décor and swaddled in vineyards. Oversize sun hat, shades and silk scarf obligatory.
• Doubles at Domaine Les Roullets cost from €195 through (i-escape.com)
Starry nights, and serious privacy
You want total privacy, nights under a million-tog duvet of stars and a seriously exotic name to impress your other half. Kuangu Kuangu is a stone, timber and canvas one-room hideaway – with kitchen and bathroom open to the heavens – tucked into a boulder-strewn dune in the Namib Desert. Views are of plains of red sand, and mountains that change colour with the light. Should you wish to break your Garbo-like seclusion, the NamibRand Nature Reserve and renowned Sossusvlei Dunes are nearby, and Kuangu Kuangu's owners can organise camel treks and safaris.
• Kuangu Kuangu lodge costs from €110 a night (kuangukuangu.com). Meals can be taken at the farm five minutes' walk away (dinner €23 a head including wine)
Run away together … but not too far
If you're after a big fat Romany honeymoon, Carrock could well be the answer. It is a traditional shepherd's hut at the edge of a Cumbrian forest with widescreen views. Woodburning stove, sheepskin rugs and tasteful rustic wood furniture make it cosy, and there's a bathroom and kitchen outside. Drop a note in the nearby letterbox for next-day delivery of local seasonal produce – but should the north-west's weather gods be smiling on you, there's also a fire-pit for cooking in the fresh air.
• A five-night stay at Carrock, at Scales Plantation north of Keswick (01275 395447, canopyandstars.co.uk) costs from £375
Paradise without the newlyweds
The trouble with tropical paradises is that they can be stuffed with identikit romantic resorts full of newlyweds lost in the wonder of us. Escape the cliché in Sri Lanka at small but perfectly formed Horathapola Estate an hour north of Colombo on a working coconut farm – cocktails can't come any fresher. The hotel is all polished wood floors, antique furniture and windows thrown open to the verdant gardens – there's also a pool and a hot tub. If you run out of things to talk about – hey, you're married now – bond over the extraordinary local birdlife.
• Half-board doubles from £220 a night through (020-7924 7133, experiencesrilanka.com). Or £3,299pp as part of a 14-day Sri Lanka itinerary
It may seem a strange choice, but to experience the Wild West with the rough edges knocked off, head to a ghost town in southern Colorado's San Juan mountains. Dunton Hot Springs, a cluster of revamped miners' cottages near Telluride, has been given the Ralph Lauren treatment with stylishly distressed furniture, chic weaves and raised decks, plus gourmet food, spa treatments and horse riding. It doesn't come cheap, so extend your break at the restored 1902 Wyman Hotel in nearby historic Silverton.
• Cabins for two at Dunton Hot Springs cost from $800 a night full board (+1 970 882 4800, duntonhotsprings.com; doubles at the Wyman Hotel (+1 800 609 7845, thewyman.com) cost from $155 a night
Whether you go for skiing in winter or hiking in summer, or just want to soak up the 360-degree views of the Zillertal peaks from a height of 2,147m, this cute mountaintop hotel above the Hochfügen/Hochzillertal ski area will be the bolthole you never want to leave. Days will slide easily by as you sit with a bottle of champagne on a sunlounger slung with lambskin, relax in the outdoor whirlpool bath and spend hours over traditional lunches, feeding each other apple strudel. At night cosy up with red wine by the fire in the bar, use the sauna, or take a train up the valley to a nearby resort such as Mayrhofen. The hotel has eight double rooms, all with balconies, DVD players and Bose sound systems.
• Rooms at Kristallhütte (+43 676 88 632 400, Kristalhuette.at) cost from €125 a night
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